October 12, 2018

What NOW? Navigating a life interrupted.

5 years ago our lives were drastically changed. Everything we knew was upended, our future was in question and I was left asking a very BIG and unsettling "WHAT NOW?"
Losing my husband and my children's father was enough to navigate through, but, OH! the CHANGE.....
The next few years presented more detours, so many decisions, more challenges, more questions, and SO MUCH MORE that God was asking of me than I ever could have anticipated. And OH! the GRACE.....

Being a single mom in a very demanding world, with 4 children to raise, a house to manage and a future I could not picture left me holding my breath some days.
What NOW?
With every change. With every decision. With every challenge. With every question....came MORE Grace. I cannot express to you ENOUGH how important it is to quiet yourself before the Lord and wait for Him to speak. To wait for His direction. To wait for GRACE. To wait for PEACE. To wait for WISDOM. To wait....on HIM. And after a while....after you've waited? To keep moving. That's the thing. To keep moving and see every step forward from a God-perspective. They say time heals all wounds. Maybe. But for me? It's perspective. From that tragic moment....perspective gave me HOPE. Perspective kept me from drowning. Perspective gave me focus. Perspective kept me determined to chase after my destiny and keep teaching my kids how to chase theirs.
I will never ever doubt the Sovereignty of God. His intentionality towards us, even in our mess, even in our failures, even in our sin, even in our weakness....He is SO persistent. SO faithful.
I remember the panic I felt over the fear of change. The irrational fear of losing everybody and everything I loved. "What NOW?" became a question of fear. What more could the Lord possibly ask of me? How much more change? But hear me when I say this....
When He asks something of you.....there's always an exchange of Grace. There's always provision. There's always MORE than enough wisdom.
At the end of the 1st year the school my kids were attending closed its doors. I'd always said to my husband...until God shuts these doors this is where we are supposed to be. Never imagining myself standing at a closed door faced with yet another decision.
But this time? I was making it without my husband. Just like Jesus ..... in a quiet moment ..... I asked Him, "What NOW?" And friends....He answered me. As I sat at my computer, He gave me immediate PEACE. I KNEW where my kids were supposed to be. OH! But the questions. The doubt. There's NO way....
Except for this one Truth. When God speaks a thing...He's already MADE the way. True to His word. He made provision and we not only found a school. We found FAMILY.
At end of the 2nd year I was sitting in silence talking to Jesus when I heard Him say, "It's time go." My. Heart. Stopped. Beating.
As soon as I heard Him say that I KNEW. I knew it was time to pack up and move. To sell the only home my kids ever knew. And go where? I'll admit there were moments I couldn't breathe. But I kept reminding myself of His words to me KNOWING that if He was asking this of me, He had already prepared a place for me. That was a journey I was not prepared for. Because just as I began the process of getting my house ready, the Lord had one more thing to ask. Not only are we leaving our home, not knowing where we are going to find ourselves.....we were now leaving our church family of 16 years, the only church my kids had ever known, MY lifeline, and going to a place where I had NO family. I didn't know a single person there. But I DID know that is where the Lord was calling us to. And I knew I had to go. That was the only answer I could give. "I have to go."
Through ugly crying....that's all I could say. "I HAVE to go."
A stranger told me once in the midst of all of this...."don't resent the process"
There are no shortcuts. You cannot navigate around what you are supposed to journey through.

It did not take long for me to see....looking back....every step that led me here.
I felt a lot like Abraham.  
Moving forward into unknown territory.  
You would find me there still on April 23, 2013 if it weren't for the Grace of God nudging me, guiding me, speaking to me and leading me into a hopeful future.  If I had only KNOWN that GRAND things He had in mind for us.
But I didn't.
I just had to TRUST.
....and listen.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

You don't need the whole map. He's not going to give you a presentation of what's to come and why. He has given you TODAY. THIS MOMENT HERE.
All He asks is that you handle this moment HERE with what you've been given and He will handle those things that are beyond your reach. He will always be steps ahead of you preparing you for the next thing all the while sustaining you for THIS thing.
One step at a time......taking each day and being faithful with what's in front of you....one day you will look back and see how grand and glorious His plans were for you all along. In spite of your circumstances. In spite of yourself. All He asks of you is faithfulness and TRUST.
If only we could find perspective, not just in hind site, but it in the middle of it all.
KNOWING that He is good.
KNOWING that His intentions towards us are good.
KNOWING that His Truth is our anchor.
KNOWING that tomorrow brings PROMISE and HOPE. 
I will raise up and restore her ruins. 
Isaiah 44:26
It's what He does.
He makes all things new again....and we can see it.
The rivers in the wasteland. The Lord making a way in the desert. Provision, favor and blessings. Beauty where there was once devastation. Joy in the places of deep deep sorrow. Clothing our hearts in thankful praise in exchange for resignation and despair. Isaiah 61....and there it is. In the pages of my Bible.This is my story. My testimony.
When the Lord restored us, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of Joy. It was said among the nations, "the Lord has done great things for them!"
The Lord HAS done great things for us and we are filled with joy. Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Psalm 126